Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, July 23, 2011

They tried to make her go to rehab - she said No, No, No

Amy Winehouse, troubled singer of the great 'Back to Black' album and the now eerily prescient hit single Rehab, found dead in her London flat today at 4pm local time.

It's been years in the making. We kind of saw it coming, and one should grieve at the loss of a unique talent. But Winehouse didn't love herself it seemed, didn't pity herself, didn't feel any gratitude for the immense gift God in his arbitrariness, gave to her.

I'm reminded of what George Michael, himself a troubled survivor, once said in a public plea to Winehouse: "This is the best female vocalist I've heard in my entire career and one of the best writers, so all I can say is, 'Please, please understand how brilliant you are'."

It was all for nought, including the efforts of that Daddy she immortalised in 'Rehab'. The single electrified everyone when it came out, young and old, white and black. I saw black teenagers in London using their pocket money to buy the 'Back to Black' CD. They turned away, at least for a while, from formulaic American RnB and Hip-Hop and all those saccharin, manufactured UK boy and girl bands to nod along to Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good and Love Is A Losing Game - and saying, 'Wow, this is real music!'

They told one another about her, like some great new religion the light of which you must see. But those teenagers, impressionable though they were, saw the singer's life splashed in the papers daily and quickly grew embarrassed, knowing they had better not be like her. For how do you adulate a train wreck?

Rehab was her most memorable song of all, even if the lyrics proved to be too frighteningly true. Her demons required her to "always keep a bottle near". And as the singer sank into an ever darkening abyss, all who had seen in her the birth of a new Billie Holiday, learned to turn away from the horrific vision. Pity.

The behatted character in the video below is Blake Fielder-Civil, the addict with whom Amy Winehouse embarked on an all too destructive marriage, and the inspiration for much of the angst-ridden material in Back to Black.

Once more with feeling, join the over 7 million people who've viewed 'Rehab' on YouTube - and let's hope Ms Winehouse finds peace, finally.

Obituary: BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph


Anonymous said...

Pocket money? What was the CD selling for, a few shillings and a half-pence?

Wordsbody said...


Teenagers, a demography that when last I checked, includes persons up to the age of 19 and who therefore sometimes have weekend and holiday jobs and so could earn £50 pounds a week or more, could definitely afford the odd CD. Not to mention the fact that many in larger Britain leave school at 16 anyway and join the job market. And we're talking of a demography that still lives at home in the main and so are not burdened by crippling bills; nearly every income is disposable.

Besides, it is well known that the massive pop music industry in Britain is sustained to a significant extent by early teens who use, yes, their pocket money to buy a whole lot of singles (which cost £1.99 on average). Who do you think was buying S Club 7? There is a reason Top of the Pops, when it still held sway and the plethora of music channels on Cable TV led by MTV - target the early teens. Most 'pop' music videos are targeted primarily at people in their teens, before appealing upwards to those in their 20s. I don't listen to Rihanna, but lots of 9 to 13-year-olds know her lyrics backwards. Which is precisely why the content of certain mucic videos become increasingly troubling for parents.

And so what if you wanted to buy a full CD of Amy Winehouse? My copy of 'Back to Black' set me back no more than £12.99. Many CDs are available at HMV for £9.99 or Tescos at £7.99. Even early teens have savings from their pocket money you know, put aside for just exactly purchases like CDs.

I lived in London most of my adult life. I don't talk about a Britain I do not know, thank you very much.